Camboya - KC Gecin acts above the law (2011)

The Building and Wood Workers Trade Union of Cambodia (BWTUC) tried to organise a union at construction company KC Gecin Enterprises by inviting its workers to seminars on the labour legislation and trade union rights. As soon as it heard about the seminars, KC Gecin’s managers threatened to dismiss anyone trying to form a union. It sought out the employees most interested in defending their trade union rights and, on 3 August, sacked 26 workers belonging to a union. This repression failed to dissuade the other workers: on 12 August, they notified the management that they had formed a union. The next day, the company fired 26 other workers, including the union’s founders. A strike was launched on 16 August to demand the reinstatement of the dismissed workers and protest against the anti-union harassment, but KC Gecin once again responded by sacking 12 more union members. It also took six trade unionists to court, claiming as much as 75,000 dollars in damages for losses caused by the strike. The Arbitration Council adopted a recommendation that the employer should reinstate the dismissed workers, but the company refused to comply.

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